CDC warns of dengue fever outbreak after another case

By Jake Chung  /  Staff Writer, with CNA

Sun, Sep 15, 2013 - Page 3

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday announced that New Taipei City’s (新北市) Sanchong District (三重) saw its first locally contracted dengue fever patient, bringing the number of locally contracted dengue fever patients to 93, and dengue fever patients who contracted the fever abroad to 191.

The patient was a 50-year-old male who had experienced fever, headaches, and soreness all over and visited a private clinic on the night of Sept. 6, and his condition had been diagnosed as dengue fever when visiting the hospital on Wednesday.

The patient is a singular case, and the patient’s family and those who had come in contact with him have all been checked by doctors and do not exhibit any symptoms of dengue, CDC official Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said.

Chuang also said that the center had made efforts to promote awareness of the risks of dengue fever, and that the primary concentration of locally contracted dengue fever were centered around Pingtung County and Greater Kaohsiung, while Taipei City and New Taipei City saw more patients who had contracted dengue fever while abroad.

Thailand and Indonesia remain at the top of the list for countries visited by patients who had contracted dengue fever while abroad, Chuang said.

During monsoon season, coupled with patients who had contracted dengue fever from abroad, the center currently reports a 13 percent increase for this year’s patients who contracted dengue fever while abroad, up from last year’s 168 cases, Chuang said.

Chuang further said that while the patients were confined to more urban areas, the nation still runs the risk of seeing an outbreak of dengue.

However, the center also called on the people not to panic, pointing to the fact that in New Taipei City alone, there were fewer and fewer patients who had come down with dengue fever in recent years, pointing to the 12 cases in Yonghe District (永和) in 2008 and the 15 cases in Wugu District (五股) in 2010.

The New Taipei City government’s Public Health Department has already begun preventive action by investigations where there were high concentration of carriers and ridding such areas of any containers that might breed more mosquitoes.

The department called on the public to take preventive measures and to be wary of their surroundings, cleaning out any containers that might gather water and inadvertently provide breeding ground for carriers.

Southeast Asia has seen a major outbreak of dengue fever this year, with over 20,000 cases reported this year to last month in Malaysia, a 27 percent increase from last year, and 110,000 cases reported by Thailand, Chuang said, adding that Singapore had also seen 15,000 patients, more than 5 times the number of cases of last year.

The situation increases the risk of Dengue fever being spread locally by patients who have contracted the fever while abroad, Chuang said.

The department also called on clinic and hospital doctors to be on the alert and to report each case to the Department of Health, adding that should doctors see patients with suspiciously dengue-fever-like symptoms, they should also ask them about their travel history.